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In 1953, Lyubavskii and Novoshilov announced the use of welding with consumable electrodes in an atmosphere of CO2 gas. The CO2 welding process immediately gained favor since it utilized equipment developed for inert gas metal arc welding, but could now be used for economically welding steels. The CO2 arc is a hot arc and the larger electrode wires required fairly high currents. The process became widely used with the introduction of smaller-diameter electrode wires and refined power supplies. This development was the short-circuit arc variation which was known as Micro-wire®, short-arc, and dip transfer welding, all of which appeared late in 1958 and early in 1959. This variation allowed all-position welding on thin materials and soon became the most popular of the gas metal arc welding process variations.
Another variation was the use of inert gas with small amounts of oxygen that provided the spray-type arc transfer. It became popular in the early 1960s. A recent variation is the use of pulsed current. The current is switched from a high to a low value at a rate of once or twice the line frequency.
Soon after the introduction of CO2 welding, a variation utilizing a special electrode wire was developed. This wire, described as an inside-outside electrode, was tubular in cross section with the fluxing agents on the inside. The process was called Dualshield®, which indicated that external shielding gas was utilized, as well as the gas produced by the flux in the core of the wire, for arc shielding. This process, invented by Bernard, was announced in 1954, but was patented in 1957, when the National Cylinder Gas Company reintroduced it.
In 1959, an inside-outside electrode was produced which did not require external gas shielding. The absence of shielding gas gave the process popularity for noncritical work. This process was named Innershield®.
The electroslag welding process was announced by the Soviets at the Brussels World Fair in Belgium in 1958. It had been used in the Soviet Union since 1951, but was based on work done in the United States by R.K. Hopkins, who was granted patents in 1940. The Hopkins process was never used to a very great degree for joining. The process was perfected and equipment was developed at the Paton Institute Laboratory in Kiev, Ukraine, and also at the Welding Research Laboratory in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. The first production use in the U.S. was at the Electromotive Division of General Motors Corporation in Chicago, where it was called the Electro-molding process. It was announced in December 1959 for the fabrication of welded diesel engine blocks. The process and its variation, using a consumable guide tube, is used for welding thicker materials.
The Arcos Corporation introduced another vertical welding method, called Electrogas, in 1961. It utilized equipment developed for electroslag welding, but employed a flux-cored electrode wire and an externally supplied gas shield. It is an open arc process since a slag bath is not involved. A newer development uses self-shielding electrode wires and a variation uses solid wire but with gas shielding. These methods allow the welding of thinner materials than can be welded with the electroslag process.
Robert F. Gage invented plasma arc welding in 1957. This process uses a constricted arc or an arc through an orifice, which creates an arc plasma that has a higher temperature than the tungsten arc. It is also used for metal spraying and for cutting.
The electron beam welding process, which uses a focused beam of electrons as a heat source in a vacuum chamber, was developed in France. J.A. Stohr of the French Atomic Energy Commission made the first public disclosure of the process on November 23, 1957. In the United States, the automotive and aircraft engine industries are the major users of electron beam welding.
Friction welding, which uses rotational speed and upset pressure to provide friction heat, was developed in the Soviet Union. It is a specialized process and has applications only where a sufficient volume of similar parts is to be welded because of the initial expense for equipment and tooling. This process is called inertia welding.
Laser welding is one of the newest processes. The laser was originally developed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories as a communications device. Because of the tremendous concentration of energy in a small space, it proved to be a powerful heat source. It has been used for cutting metals and nonmetals. Continuous pulse equipment is available. The laser is finding welding applications in automotive metalworking operations.
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content provided by Hobart Institute Of Welding Technology